“No, no, no no, no no,” was what Christine Lagarde was reported to have said when asked last year if she was interested in running the European Central Bank (ECB).
Yet just a few months later, she has been nominated as the institution’s new president.
Ms Lagarde – known as the “rock star” of international finance – said the new role was “an honour”.
Poised, chic and known for her straight talking, she has become one of Europe’s most influential ambassadors in the world of international finance.
Until this weekend, the main contenders for the ECB job were male central bankers.
But assuming the nomination is approved she will become the central bank’s first ever female leader, responsible for the euro and the monetary policy of the eurozone.
“First ever female” is a tag that has followed Ms Lagarde throughout her career.
The former lawyer was the first woman to chair global law firm Baker McKenzie, the first woman to serve as a finance minister from any Group of Seven nation and then the first to lead the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Unsurprisingly she has long championed promoting women into powerful positions, saying it’s the key to improving the world economy.
“As I have said many times, if it had been Lehman Sisters rather than Lehman Brothers, the world might well look a lot different today,” she said earlier this year.
The silver-haired 63-year-old is legendary for her stamina. A former synchronised swimmer for the French national team, she is reported to exercise daily, even during meetings if necessary.
In her current role, she has been praised for steering the Washington-based IMF through the aftermath of the financial crisis.